Best Charcoal Smokers

Written in 2024
by Adam

    Any amateur or intermediate BBQ smoker in the UK right now would love to advance to pitmaster. For them to achieve this honoured position, they would need to make use of the best charcoal smokers and tools available right now.

    It is easy to imagine the adrenaline that rushes through your veins at the mere thought of being awarded this title, which is possible as long as you know how to manage a good old BBQ and handle your tools correctly.

    Common, let’s face it, there is certain magic surrounding all in attendance of such a great event where the charcoal smoker is being fired up. Some would put it down to the mere interactive spirit we all have and the added bonus that one of the best charcoal smokers were used to carry out a smoking hot BBQ session successfully.

    It would be a real pity to let the opportunity to learn what makes one charcoal smoker in the UK better than another pass us by. Without a shadow of a doubt, it will require an in-depth search to bring to light all there is to know about a given brand so everyone who is reading this can make a sound judgment regarding which brand will rise as the victor.

    Allow us to guide you along as we unravel the mystery surrounding the best charcoal smokers to date in the UK currently.

    10 - Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker - 37cm

    Weber 711004 Smoky Mountain Cooker 37 CM Black
    • Built-in Thermometer in the lid: for temperature control during grilling. Large opening: to pile up Barbecue Wood Smoking Chips or Wood Chunks. 3 separate, adjustable air vents: for optimal heat...
    • Solid Charcoal Barbecue: air circulates evenly around the briquettes. 2 Chrome-plated grill rack with handle.
    • 2 levels for grilling and Smoking: versatile options. Porcelain enamelled water and fat drip tray: the food does not dry out.

    It's been said that the Weber Smokey Mountain holds the record of being the best all around charcoal smoker.

    This is not something that happened by chance. Through the years, Weber continuously tweaked and made the necessary improvements to ensure their smokers became a hit with both amateur and pro pitmasters.

    How did they manage to obtain such success? It comes down to state-of-the-art construction and keeping costs low so people not only found it easy to afford but could purchase extra goodies to ensure any BBQ event turned into a resounding success.

    The short term they use for this smoker is simply - WSM (Weber Smokey Mountain).

    The mere fact that the WSM can maintain a steady temperature for a while and its compactness, are among the reasons how Weber gained popularity the way they did.

    The Smokey Mountain consists of three sections, namely:

    1. Lower section - This area would include the charcoal ring and three adjustable vents that are in place to manage airflow, and in turn, the smoker temperature.
    2. Middle section - Over here you’ll find the water pan as well as two cooking gates with an access door so you may add wood or charcoal when needed.
    3. Dome lid that features a built-in thermometer.

    Likes and Dislikes

    Any product sold around the world will attract either likes and dislikes. Some would say what they love about one brand while others will state their disappointment without moping too much about it.

    What Users Love About the Weber Smokey Mountain

    • The way it's built - Everything this best charcoal smoker is made of speaks of quality. Right from the chrome coating to the long lasting porcelain coating. Do not forget the sturdy legs it boasts that will last for a very long time.
    • Easy to use - Some people may think it is troublesome to cook with charcoal and reckon it can be downright messy. However, the WSM lets you set it once and forget about it afterwards. There is no need to still invest in an automatic temperature controller.
    • Capacity - You may have learned already that the WSM features a small footprint. This does not mean your cooking space is limited as it allows you to fit a load of food.

    Consumer Dislikes

    • The side door is of inferior quality -  The only downside to what the WSM offers would be the inferior aluminium door that can present leaking problems. However, the problem goes away once a natural seal from the smoking forms. Another solution is to make use of a gasket kit to seal off any leakages.

    Other than this, all is good with the Weber Smoky Mountain.

    Some of you may have a gripe with regards to the size, but there are numerous ways to solve the problem and fit a lot of food inside. Rib racks turn out to be a good investment as you can fit more food in one smoke session.

    Overall, the WSM is very reliable and an easy to use charcoal smoker that would easily produce an outstanding BBQ experience regardless of whether you are an amateur or a seasoned pitmaster.

    9 - DrumGrill Big Multifunctional Steel Oil Barrel Charcoal Grill

    Some guys love trying their hand building their own drum smoker. It can be an exciting, yet useful option. But, not everybody has the tools and know-how to put something like this together without one or the other hiccup rearing its head once the time comes to try it out.

    All is not lost though. What if you get your hands on a DrumGrill that presents one with a similarly low budget concept while the charcoal grill looks really funky?

    Once you set it up, the time is right to light the fire and have yourself a one-of-a-kind BBQ experience.

    The steel drum and lid of the DrumGrill can handle severe temperatures while the cooler external creates a sufficient amount of condensation to ensure enough moisture. The cylindrical shape does a great job to allow convection heat to flow evenly throughout the cooker.

    What People Love:

    • Lightweight materials - This incredible feature alone makes it worthwhile to invite a small circle of friends for a good time in your yard, so you may easily move the 28 lbs barrel to a more suitable area that everyone would enjoy.
    • Used for inside BBQ: Due to its robust and functional design, the DrumGrill can be stored and used inside and it offers a nice touch to any home thanks to the shiny non-stick black surface.
    • Clean up is less messy: As the juices from your meat fall directly on the hot coals, you do not need to spend a lot of time cleaning up.


    • The drum can get very hot if you add too much charcoal into the unit
    • Can be a little pricey still as opposed to a self-made BBQ drum

    The DrumGrill will exceed your expectations by a big margin as the entire barrel consists of highly resistant steel that is super easy to use with hardly any assembly requirements. Perfect for anyone.

    One of the best features of the DrumGrill is that you do not need customization.

    8 - Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill, Graphite

    Chefood 16" Ceramic Kamado Style BBQ Cooking Charcoal Grill Pack with a Cover
    • 16“ diameter (outside) 1" thick of real ceramic body
    • 138 square inches of cooking area, FDA stainless steel #304 cooking grid
    • Even heating performance and excellent heat insulation, serve for outdoor cooking in winter cold season

    There is an entire guide dedicated to what BBQ professionals would consider the best kamado grills. These make for excellent charcoal smokers. While most of these garnered a bit of a reputation for being mass-produced, and some brands are classed as cheap grills that are challenging to cook with. The Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grills seem to hit the sweet spot in terms of value given and cost.

    The way the manufacturers cut costs so these grillers are more within your reach, price-wise, have a lot to do with replacing the standard heavy-duty ceramic with something that is way lighter and insulated with 22 gauge steel.

    The exteriors of these charcoal grill units are finished in powder-coated steel, while the interior consists of porcelain-coated steel.

    With the Chefood you get a sizable cooking area that consists of 138 square inches. The even heating surface is a great plus for wannabe BBQers as it offers incredible insulation that will serve your purpose perfectly during winter or colder seasons.

    What is there to like:

    • While some of the bigger charcoal grills will set you back quite a bit, the Akorn brands prove to be an excellent alternative and smoker. It is very easy to assemble as everything just works and fits well. Most of the equipment and assemblies are properly insulated and present users with leak-free cooking.
    • Quality cooking grates - The primary cast iron grate is very robust and features a handy section within the centre that is easy to remove. This way, you can just drop wood chunks and coals as you need them.
    • The advanced multi-panel firebox in green eliminates the chances of it breaking
    • Double-thick wire mesh in fibreglass gaskets ensures a super air-tight seal that offers 10 times the normal life of such gaskets.

    What Users Dislike

    • The extra cost involved in getting your hands on smoking stones. There might be some cheaper options, but in most cases, you would have to purchase the smoking stone. This way you can set it up for slow and low cooking. The great thing about this is that you can use it as pizza stone too.
    • Gaskets can leak - When you constantly cook at high temperatures, the gaskets tend to become damaged and result in smoke leakages. Fortunately, there is a solution for this in that you can utilise a high temp replacement gasket.

    For not much more than you’ll pay for a WSM, the Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill proves itself an extremely versatile grill, smoker and oven combination.

    7 - Best Charcoal Grill Smoker Combo - Weber Original Kettle Premium 57cm Black

    Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Barbecue 57 cm Black
    • Dehumidify a closed Ash Box underneath of the barbecue will help you your clean considerably
    • On Its wheels can be it comfy to wheels, you need it – now and then. Dehumidify a closed Ash Box underneath of the barbecue will help you your clean considerably
    • Its dimensions: 58 cm x 71 cm x 107 cm (D x W x H) make it particularly compact

    You might be surprised, but a standard Weber Kettle can become an excellent smoker with a few magic tips.

    You should still consider purchasing a dedicated smoker if your primary aim is smoking. But, maybe you are smoking meat and you’re not sure if it’s worth investing several dollars to find that you may not like it.

    Or perhaps you want a grill that can be doubled periodically as a smoker.

    The classic Weber kettle is your best option. Thanks to the good value for money it gives you a fantastic grill of one of the best brands in barbecuing, we have named this one of the best charcoal grills around.

    What people love about the Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Barbecue

    • Sturdy structure–The Weber body is made of stainless steel pressed sheets which are then encased with a porcelain coating. That means you can grill for several years with no rust. If you leave it outdoors, just ensure you get yourself a grill cover.
    • Nice and airtight–part of the reason the barbecue can act as a smoker is because of its excellent heat management, which allows you to retain stable time while consuming less fuel for a long time.
    • Light and mobile–the two wheels on the leg base make moving the grill very easy.

    What People dislike about the Weber Original Kettle Premium

    • Small sizes – hard to knock since the kettle isn't built specifically to smoke, so when you try to smoke many things you'll run out of space really quickly.

    The other big benefit of the Weber Kettle is that it can be programmed in various ways. It can be set up to cook 2 areas with the addition of a cheap aluminium pot.

    This basket of stainless steel clips onto your weber as its name suggests and transforms it into an effective water smoker.

    You can also purchase accessories which transform your Weber into a Pizza oven.

    A dedicated smoker like Smokey Mountain achieves a high degree of quality that the weber kettle cannot achieve. But it's going to get you close.

    It's a good choice if you want a bit of flexibility without spending extra on a dedicated smoker.

    6 - Landmann Smoker Tennessee 100 - Offset Smoker

    Landmann Smoker Tennessee 100, black
    96 Reviews
    Landmann Smoker Tennessee 100, black
    • Temperature gauge
    • Front table
    • Ideal for 6 people

    The Landmann Smoker Tennessee is also a direct grill, with the left section a 'firebox' to keep your charcoal hot, to keep the fuel up in the main chamber, it is a very good system. It is the most advanced barbecue in the world and the fresh air is filled with your wood and charcoal.

    Offset smokers, typically known as stick burners or ooze old school smokers and are where most people start when on the lookout for a good quality smoker.

    Most pitmasters agree that wood should still form the basis of your fire, while smoke wood regularly added for its aroma is commonly perceived to be a primary fuel source for these smokers.

    One thing about this smoker that is remarkable is that cooks quite well when you have it in a very sheltered place. Unfortunately, the gaps are so widespread around the edge that any wind throws your thermometer right away.

    As it is not an inverted smoker, one end is hot and the other cooler so it will only do 2 slides of ribs very realistically without moving them through the cooker.

    This helps you to cook much more evenly. You can save money and obtain the conventional design where the fireplace is on the far side.

    What people like about it

    • Easy to assemble and an excellent smoker and BBQ.
    • Cover as an added extra works well to protect your BBQ

    What people do not like

    • The plastic wheels are a bit small and not as strong as they need to be when you have to move the unit elsewhere with a load of charcoal burning in it.
    • Even though this BBQ is not as airtight as it should be, there is a fix in that you can make a gasket to fit the door to make it more airtight.

    5 - Char-Broil Traditional Bullet Smoker

    Char-Broil 140 871 - Traditional Bullet Smoker, black
    • Sturdy steel construction with formed door
    • 2 enamelled steel cooking grates
    • Lid-mounted temperature gauge

    The Char-Broil Bullet Smoker is a durable, used anywhere top quality charcoal smoker that gives you the highest quality smoking capability when you are looking for a browning and seasoned charcoal grill for a backyard cookout.

    Char-Broil started charcoal smokers in the United States. Char-Broil grills, smokers, fryers etc. are inexpensive and have no mess outside.

    The Bullet Smoker has a robust steel design and features a shaped door. The stylish matt steel finish will make any seasoned smoker very proud. It makes the meat juicy and appetizing to enjoy a well-cooked meal.

    Char Broil Bullet Smoker is durable and long-lasting for an affordable price. Due to the big space, a large quantity of food can be smoked immediately. The cooking temperature with a lid thermometer is easily controlled and the advanced five-tier air control system provides excellent performance.

    This smoker is easy to clean and rustproof since it is a porcelain-coated steel frame.

    In a removable ash bowl, the ash is stored. Beef, veal, seafood, lamb, pork, steak, and veggies can easily be cooked.

    The bullet smoker will make an excellent choice even when you're a barbeque newbie. Let's look at its characteristics quickly.

    What the users like about the Char Broil Bullet Smoker

    They get to enjoy a mess-free BBQ experience

    It is extremely easy to assemble and user-friendly. One can look forward to accurate readings thanks to the thermometer that is embedded in the lid.

    The smoker is lightweight enough so one may carry it and place it elsewhere without too much effort involved.

    What is great is that the entire unit is very compact and strong. Consumers are satisfied with the porcelain gates and the functioning access door. It is best to fill the unit using charcoal as it releases a lovely and soothing flavour.

    The rust resistance and the fact that it is easy to wash makes this a worthy investment for any BBQ enthusiast.

    It is large enough so you can cook a turkey in the unit.

    Wood can be used in lieu of charcoal.

    What people do not like

    It can only be used as a smoker and will not do as a regular grill.

    How Worthy are Char Broil Bullet Smokers to BBQ Fans?

    They find value in the highly durable product that is of a superior quality to ensure a great cooking experience.

    The temperature is easy to monitor and remains constant most of the time.

    Overall, the Char-broil Bullet Smoker is revered for its ability to offer its users a distinct smoky and authentic taste. Moreover, the unit does not require much maintenance and the porcelain coated smoker is corrosion resistant.

    The Char Broil Bullet Smoker is versatile and great for cooking beef, chicken, veal, lamb, seafood, and even veggies.

    4 - BillyOh Kentucky Smoker BBQ

    BillyOh Kentucky Smoker BBQ - Charcoal American Grill Outdoor Barbecue (124cm x113cm x 66cm)
    • AUTHENTIC SMOKED TASTE: Unlike traditional barbecues this barbecue intensifies flavours and brings out a delicious smoky barbecue taste, achieving that authentic american flavour!
    • EASY TO USE: Front crank allows you to adjust height of grills. Front access door to adjust or refill charcoal.
    • GREATER COOKING RESULTS: Built in temperature gauge and warming rack

    Surely any avid Charcoal Smoker fan wants to experience the best outdoor cooking experience while simultaneously enhancing their living space, where the primary focus would rest on purpose and functionality.

    The BillyOh Kentucky Smoker will give you that as it proves to be one of the best ways to pass your evenings, having a stunning BBQ with your family and friends.

    The best part is that you are sitting in the UK doing things the American way in that you will be preparing a feast of all with a delicious smoky barbecue that resembles an authentic all American flavour.

    Recipients of this smoker are thoroughly impressed with the clear cut instructions where attention to detail is given to all the parts used to have it assembled in no time at all. Just be sure to add a bit of heat resistant seal while you are at it, and you will be good to go.

    What you will like about the BillyOh Smoker

    You get to enjoy cooking up a mean BBQ smoked meal for your whole family

    Control the smoke as the unit features a vented chimney

    Enough space as it boasts a large cooking area that will satisfy some huge appetites

    Easy way to refill with charcoal thanks to the user-friendly front access door

    The built-in temperature gauge ensures exceptional cooking results every time

    The two large side tables allow enough space for an array of spices and other accessories to make your cooking experience a joyous one. This is the area where cooks love to stack their meats and drinks while they’re busy cooking

    Utensil hooks and the versatility of the robust wheels prove to be really handy during times of cooking and should the need arise to move the unit elsewhere.

    The front crank of the Kentucky smoker lets you adjust the height of your grill to ensure you gain more control of the smoker.

    What people dislike about the BillyOh Kentucky Smoker

    It might take a long time to assemble all the parts as you unbox it.

    As a whole, users will experience fantastic cooking results. This is due to the easy control the user will have over this smoker thanks to the built-in temperature gauge so there is no need to guess as to what the end result might be.

    The vented chimney allows one to control the smoke levels when busy cooking and aid the pitmaster to achieve a perfect tasting meal every time. Additional features such as the warming rack is a nice addition as users can simply keep cooked items hot while waiting for the rest of the food to finish cooking. One can even toast buns or other side dishes over here.

    3 - Premium Charcoal Smoker BBQ Grill with Hanging Rack - Perfect for Beginners

    Callow Retail Charcoal Smoker BBQ Grill - Black | Premium & Portable 3 in 1 Outdoor Steel & Carbon Garden Barbecue & Griller | BBQ Smoker Rack,...
    • QUALITY CONSTRUCTION: Elevate your outdoor cooking experience with our premium 3-tiered Charcoal Smoker BBQ Grill. At its core is its 0.9mm steel and carbon structure which is completed with a...
    • VERSATILE COOKING: Unleash your culinary creativity with a spacious, fully ventilated cooking grate and smoker rack, providing ample room for smoking and grilling. The ventilated charcoal grate...
    • INTEGRATED TEMPERATURE CONTROL: The built-in thermometer allows for perfectly smoked, slow-cooked, and grilled to perfection results, with the 1-gallon capacity water bowl adding moisture to food for...

    Made from high-density carbon steel and a high-quality powder coating, this Premium Charcoal Smoker will ensure an amazing cooking experience regardless if you are still new to the whole BBQ way of doing things or a seasoned professional.

    Couple this with the functional smoker bottom bowl and robust supporting feet and you have yourself a winner that will make you look like an expert smoker.

    Accurately identify the ideal cooking temperature at any given point as the built-in thermometer will help you gauge the right heat. Top that with four adjustable air vents, seated in the base area as well as the two vents situated in the smoker lid, and it is clear to see why pitmasters find it easy cooking up a meal everyone loves.

    No need to be concerned as to how you will gain access to the charcoal and water pans as the hinged door on the front end ensures easy access whenever there is a need to top up. This feature is particularly useful if you have a long smoking time ahead of you, allowing for effortless topping up to help retain the right smoke levels.

    Besides, the charcoal pan is sufficiently ventilated to ensure a smooth and even heat distribution. The smoking rack features up to 6 hooks to allow top quality smoking of ribs, fish, sausages, chicken, or any other meat you want to smoke.

    The simple structure makes it super easy to use the Premium Charcoal Smoker. Once all is said and done, you simply clip the lid closed using the heat resistant handles, wait until the smoker cooled down, before you cover it with the weatherproof cover that will keep it protected until next time.

    What is there to like about the Premium Charcoal Smoker

    The quality powder coating serves to protect the exteriors of this BBQ for years to come

    The 5 Liter capacity water pan ensures an extra-long cooking session that easily lasts up to 3 hours

    Ventilated charcoal pan is large enough to allow for smoking time that will carry on for up to 6 hours

    Top-quality built-in thermometer allows for sufficient temperature control at all times

    All-inclusive weatherproof cover, two cooking grates, 6 hooks, and smoking rack let users enjoy a well-deserved cooking experience.

    Superb design at an affordable price range

    A good amount of space in that you get two racks to smoke a variety of meat


    Instructions not all that great as some parts are not referenced properly

    One thing that can be said about this smoker is that you can also cook normal meats on the two racks you’re provided with. All you really need is to add some wood chips on your coals for added flavour. Ideal for use in summer.

    All in all, this smoker is the bomb when it comes to catering for the needs of a beginner meat smoker. What is really cool is its ability to keep temperatures fairly constant. The bottom line is that it does a great job for entry-level smoking. You can always upgrade to a pro-level as time goes by.

    2 - Tepro Offset Pit Barrel Smoker - Large Smoking Capacity

    Biloxi Offset BBQ Pit Barrel Smoker
    • Generous sized grill with warming rack
    • Enamel cooking grids
    • Trolley mounted, with large steel wheels

    Barbecuing is not just a trend in the UK, but a worldwide phenomenon that people cannot seem to get enough of. In this regard, the Tepro Biloxi smoker proves to be a real eye-catcher that turns out exciting dishes.  It might be seen as a small Western style smoking unit, but it delivers a variety of cooking possibilities like no other.

    The magic happens once the lower-lying smoking chamber welcomes the buildup of the right type of smoke from a wood fire.

    When it rises, it goes into the cooking area where it is drawn in by the chimney. Your food is cooked at low temperatures of between 80 ° C and 130 ° C and will become slowly and smokefully perfect.

    You can easily monitor the cooking temperature via the built-in thermometer. On all sides smoked food cooks evenly, maintaining the juicy coherence. Try various wood types for exciting and new flavours.

    The flavour intensity of smoke can be controlled with comfortable ventilation. To produce deliciously smoked food results you don't have to be an expert! The food can not burn and hardly has to be turned because of the low cooking temperature.

    You can also use an indirect method to grill food in the cooking area where the food is located in an indoor spot, not directly above the flame in addition to smoking. This is the Biloxi BBQ Smokers barbecue system for gourmets and it is simple to use.

    The smoker does not leave anything to be desired, whether you host a traditional barbecue or want to cook exciting smoked dishes. The grill can be easily installed right in your garden or patio wherever you need it.

    Enjoy the rustic flavour of Biloxy BBQ Smoker with your family and friends!

    What we like about the Tepro BBQ Smoker

    • The warming rack with a generously sized grill
    • Cooking grills made from enamel
    • The large steel wheels ensure it is so much easy to manoeuvre the smoker around
    • The built-in thermometer does a great job of keeping control of the heat requirements to ensure an incredible cooking experience.

    If you are looking for the ultimate smoking experience, check out the Tepro BBQ Smoker. This is 154,55 kg with 5-mm thick stainless steel doors to ensure that there is nothing left by 2 smoking chambers or the wide side chamber of 48 cm. Each door has a thermometer that can be used for independent management of the cooking areas.

    The 58 by 40cm grill surface offers more than enough space for cooking your food. The side chamber includes a grill gate too to accommodate extra cooking space.

    Heat resistant up to a maximum of 350 degrees Celsius


    • The smoker is a little awkward to assemble, but in most cases it takes only 45 minutes.

    1 - TecTake Charcoal BBQ Smoker

    TecTake 3-in-1 BBQ Charcoal Grill, Barbecue, Smoker with Thermostat – Assorted Models
    337 Reviews
    TecTake 3-in-1 BBQ Charcoal Grill, Barbecue, Smoker with Thermostat – Assorted Models
    • Choose from 5 different colours.
    • Get perfect results with this charcoal barbecue.
    • With the 3-in-1 charcoal grill, you can choose to smoke, grill or cook your food.

    This proves to be a decent entry-level product, which is excellent for an inexpensive way to enjoy the pleasures of outdoor and smoking cooking.

    What is really wonderful about using this particular grill is the ability to cook, grill, and smoke without worrying about high temperatures. One thing is for sure, this smoker is a practical two-chamber smoker with sturdy wheels to make it very easy to move around and make use of the shelf offered.

    For a simple temperature monitoring, a thermometer is embedded and you can adjust the temperature swiftly with side vents.

    This BBQ is pretty hard to install. However, it is a good budget purchase for beginners in general. See some of the other top things on our list for more extreme smokers.

    What is there to like about the TecTake

    • Features a unique offset chamber
    • Has a sturdy front shelf to host all your essentials
    • Built-in thermometer for controlling heat
    • Trolley design with sturdy wheeling


    • Not easy to assemble
    • Leaks smoke at times

    Overall, it is worth the money you pay for it.

    Why Charcoal Smokers are so Worth it

    Think about it for a moment. Ever since the beginning of time, people loved tinkering with fire. Even though igniting gas or sticking some fire into the front door access area of your smoker is not quite the same as lighting up a fresh pile of wood out in the wild, it is still magical and creates a sense of pride.

    For some individuals, the mere thought of having to set up and manage a pit of fire whether out in the open or within a contained area such as a smoker may appear like one of their worst nightmares.

    Look! There is absolutely nothing wrong in wanting a smoker that you can just set and forget, which is possible if you opt for an electric smoker. But, there is something about charcoal smoking units that cannot be beaten by other ways of achieving the same effects.

    You see, the thing is that charcoal gives a flavour that is not easy to replicate. On the flip side, most of you might be aware of the fact that using charcoal produces way more smoke than gas. However, it offers a broader range of super tasty flavours.

    Should you use your BBQ smoker for longer periods, and you do not mind slow smoke roasting, then you are in for a treat as you will soon notice a delightful difference in flavour. Propane grills just do not cut it and the flavour produced is way milder.

    Pros and Cons in Using Charcoal Smokers

    As usual, let us begin with the benefits associated with using charcoal smokers as opposed to any other type of smoker.

    Benefits of Making Use of Charcoal Smokers

    • Easy to customize: Even though it may not sound as appealing, opportunities abound to fiddle with top of the range BBQ smokers and get them to work the way you want it to.
    • Portability: There is no power required to cook with charcoal or to transport large propane tanks. Portability:
    • Flavour: This is the one advantage of charcoal cooking. For others, the taste that a charcoal smoker provides is much greater than any additional work required with traditional cooking methods that involve the use of charcoal. You can control what tastes you want, from the heavy tastes to the light, subtle licks of smoke, and how much you want when you use carbon smokers.
    • Variety: With some cheats, BBQ smokers can create intensive heat, perfect for searing, smoking at the perfect temperature and can also be adjusted to cold smoke with the right modifications.

    Disadvantages to Using Charcoal Smokers

    • Cleanup: You have to clean up the ash and the residual charcoal. That's a job that most do not like.
    • Simple to use and regulate the temperature: Once you learn some tricks and know your smoker it won't be a major problem. However, there is initially a stiffer learning process involved in regulating the temperature of a charcoal smoker.
    • Accessories: Charcoal smokers, who obviously are 'old days,' tend not to have as many fancy attachments and features like modern-day smokers.

    Charcoal smokers are usually less expensive (though incredibly costly models exist).

    But charcoal is not the cheapest burning fuel around.

    Take into account when weighing up how often to smoke, what your projected cost is and where to get your charcoal or smoking wood.

    However, remember, charcoal will cost more than gas or electricity year after year.

    How is a Smoker Different to Standard Grills?

    This is one question that we guess will cross most people’s minds. The best way to answer is to note the differences between smoking and grilling.

    Smoking is smoke dependent and how your food is cooked with low indirect heat. Because your food is at a lower temperature, food usually takes hours to cook.

    There are many reasons why smoking your food is looked favourably upon:

    • Firstly, because meat is smoked at low temperatures for a long time, collagen breaks making it super delicate.
    • Furthermore, the smoke gives the food a special and smooth appearance.
    • Smoking lasts a long time, but you don't have to sit up and watch it all day once you have set your smoker up. Check on it from time to time and the smoker does the job for you.
    • Smokers designed to last for long periods need to retain heat at constant temperatures.
    • Grilling with your smoker is not entirely out of the question, depending on the type of smoker you obtain.
    • Smokers are able to reach higher temperatures in order to grill and sear food.

    Grilling, on the other hand, is more about directing heat over a shorter period. While smoking is mostly about using low heat for longer periods of time, grilling is the opposite of that. If you get it right, the meat you just grilled will be perfectly juicy and tender on the inside. The outside will most likely be crispier and darker.

    As you would have noticed, grilling is not just turning up the heat and hoping everything will go as planned. One would need to incorporate techniques such as reverse sear where the meat will taste scrumptious but will not be burnt.

    You would set up the grill in such a manner to ensure the heat source comes in directly from underneath the food, letting the food cook directly. In the case of charcoal grilling, there will be a charcoal bed inside the BBQ unit.

    Features One Need to Think About Before Buying a Charcoal Smoker

    It is best to run through a couple of factors so you may gain a proper understanding of the right type of smoker for you.

    How Much Do You Have to Spend?

    It is a good idea to decide what you are going to spend before buying a smoker. It's easy to buy a smoker packed with features, but it will just mean you go over budget.

    You may not need all of the extra features , especially if it's your first smoker or you don't regularly use a smoker. At a very affordable price, you can acquire a decent, basic charcoal smoker.

    Do not forget that the smoker's running costs should be taken into account. For example, charcoal is the most expensive fuel that you can burn. Then remember how much the smoker will cost you to keep it running over a year.

    How many people do you intend cooking for with your smoker?

    The bigger the better isn't always the right course of action to take. It will be a real pain, not to mention waste of time and money to light a massive smoker just so you can cook two chicken breasts, if you rarely, if ever, cook for a huge group of people.

    Smokers are available in a variety of sizes so you can pick the right size for yourself.

    Think about the average number of people you cook for and buy a unit with this capacity. Most companies give you the size of the smoker in inches while others will also name the amount of burger patties you can cook, which is way more realistic to grasp.

    Which is Best - Dedicated Smokers or Combo Grills?

    It depends if you intend to mainly use your equipment for smoking or grilling purposes. Many of the top BBQ smokers are meant for smoking only while others will serve a multiple purpose and can be used for grilling as well.

    Also, be prepared to pay more for something more versatile. However, if you love grilling as much as smoking your meats, then it makes sense to invest the money in a more expensive model.

    Do you need to move your smoker?

    Portability is the name of the game if you regularly do your rounds. The bigger your smoker, the less likely you will make time to pack it for your camping trip.

    This being said, charcoal smokers are often feasible for camping purposes as you do not need power supply, and neither do you need to lug a gas bottle.

    Heavy barbecue types like kamados are hard to move in your own yard from spot to spot – let alone when you find yourself on a camping trip.

    If you're a passionate outdoor person, you can even opt for a second smaller smoker.

    Why Build and Brand Quality Matters

    Although a known brand might not be a promise of good quality for the items you buy, it still deserves understanding of the brands and the reputation they have.

    When you find a smoker brand you never heard of, it takes time to explore what sort of customer service (if any) they provide and learn a little bit about the product and the quality of workmanship that you might expect.

    Barbecue and online review forums are an excellent place to find this type of information.

    Proper Care and Maintenance is Important

    It will last for a long time if you maintain your smoker properly. Maintenance shouldn't take too long or be tricky. Coherence is truly key for ensuring the duration of your smoker.

    Let us summarize some key maintenance points to help prolong the life of your smoker.

    Safer Ash Disposal

    Ashes that you leave in your smoker will soon become damp and lead to rusting issues if you are not careful. It is imperative that you take care of these duties before doing anything else.

    Grill cleaning

    The grease left on the grates will soon go rancid, making it bad for your health.  Similarly, charcoal will rub off onto you from the food and give you a bitter taste.

    Therefore, regardless of how you look at it, filthy, crusty grates won't yield good results.

    After you have finished cooking, you can clean your grates by letting the coal burn off and smoking away any leftover food left on the grates.

    You may just forget that you had the vents open or you attempted to save the charcoal. In this case, you can simply shut your fire off once the food is done and tackle any cleaning before your next cooking session.

    The best way to pull this off is to crank the fire of your newly bought smoker or grill at least 15 minutes beforehand and allow the remaining grease to smoke for awhile until it fades away, so you can scrub or scrape the grates.

    Ensure you wipe the grates down using a damp cloth straight after you made use of a wire brush. Inspect the cooking surface to ensure no wire bristles are left behind on the grates as you do not want any to be lodged in a vital organ of yours.

    Cooking Chamber Cleaning

    It's time to act when the interior of your cooking chamber builds up numerous layers that coils up and goes into your food.

    Even better, regularly cleaning the inside of your cooking surface will prevent you from undertaking industrial cleanups.

    You might hack loose bits with a plastic putty knife when the smoker is cool and you only need to carry out some lighter cleaning duties. It is easy to make use of a vacuum to suck the flaking bits.

    If you find you have to clean some more, make use of a wire brush or steel wool and a bit of dishwashing liquid, a bucket, gloves, soft towels, and a hose.

    Rely on your instincts and scrub your way to achieving a clean cooking area within your smoker.

    Just be aware that this work may get a little messy. It is best you make use of drop sheets or tarpaulin if you intend smoking in the driveway.

    There is a good reason why charcoal smokers are sought after by barbecue enthusiasts. Although you can argue about the extent to which charcoal gives the meat the right taste, there is no doubt that this cooking method leads to better smoke ring and bark as well as a unique smoke aroma that other styles are struggling to replicate.

    Due to the relatively simple way these smokers work, you can acquire a very well-stocked smoker for less than 300 dollars. Contrary to pellet smokers, where a lot of resources go into the development of components and software, charcoal works best for well-designed smokers, with quality components that keep temperatures constant so  the smoker can last for several years.

    As a final thought. Before you start to stress about how you’re going to control the temperature of your smoker, you will be just fine if you set it correctly. It is a case of knowing whether you will cook low and slow, then make use of the minion method or another variation

    Also, be sure to line your firebox with a sufficient supply of charcoal before you fire up a small number of the briquettes. Allow the ash to simmer for 15 minutes before you spread it over the unlit coals. This way you will achieve the best smoking results.

    If the idea of tweaking air valves does not take your fancy, then you need to consider getting yourself one of the best charcoal smokers in the UK.

    Last update on 2023-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    Written by Adam

    Adam is the creator of the SmokeGuys website, running it since 2016. Hater of coriander, lover of all things meat... Adam currently works in marketing with a dream of being able to make food his full-time 'job' in the longer term.

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